Cancer Survivor Tells Paul Ryan: ‘I’d Be Dead’ Without Obamacare

A man who survived cancer despite a grim diagnosis challenged House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) on his efforts to repeal Obamacare.


“Because of the Affordable Care Act, I’m standing here today,” Jeff Jeans told Ryan at a CNN town hall event on Thursday. Jeans, who identified himself as a longtime Republican who had worked on campaigns for Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, used to oppose the law. But then, he said, that changed when he was given six weeks to live and needed health insurance to get treatment.


As a small business owner, Jeans explained, he doesn’t get health insurance through work like many people do.


“I rely on the Affordable Care Act to be able to purchase my own insurance,” he said. And with a pre-existing condition, he likely would have had a hard time buying coverage in the pre-Obamacare U.S.


“I want to thank President Obama from the bottom of my heart because I’d be dead if it weren’t for him,” he said.


Ryan told Jeans that Republicans intend to replace President BarackObama’s signature health law― which he referred to as being in a “death spiral”― “with something better,” though their plans largely remain a mystery.


The Senate on Wednesday night took a major step towards repealing Obamacare, passing a budget resolution that made way for Congress to strip funding for the law. The House will take up the resolution on Friday.


Read more stories here from people who say Affordable Care Act saved their lives.


The Bush Sisters Wrote a Very Sweet Letter to the Obama Girls


In a sweet open letter to Sasha and Malia Obama posted on Time, former first daughters Barbara Bush and Jenna Bush Hager shared a bit of advice to the girls as they leave the White House with their parents next week.

The Bush twins got to experience the White House at two stages of their lives: as children, when their grandfather George H.W. Bush held the office, and as young adults at 19, when their father, George W. Bush, first took office following the 2000 election. So they spoke firsthand about what the Obama girls have to look forward to as former first daughters in their college years.

“You are about to join another rarified club, one of former First Children—a position you didn’t seek and one with no guidelines,” they wrote. “But you have so much to look forward to. You will be writing the story of your lives, beyond the shadow of your famous parents, yet you will always carry with you the experiences of the past eight years.”

Remember the people who worked at the White House, they said. “Our greeter as 7-year-olds at our grandfather’s Inauguration was Nancy, the White House florist, who ushered us in from the cold. She helped us make colorful bouquets of winter flowers for our grandparents’ bedside. Twenty years later, Nancy did the flowers for Jenna’s wedding. Cherish your own Nancy.”

“We stay in touch with our Secret Service. They were part of growing up for us: there for first dates, first days and even an engagement and a honeymoon. We know it wasn’t always easy—the two of you and the two of us were teenagers trailed by men in backpacks—but they put their lives on hold for us.”


And definitely “enjoy college. As most of the world knows, we did. And you won’t have the weight of the world on your young shoulders anymore. Explore your passions. Learn who you are. Make mistakes—you are allowed to. Continue to surround yourself with loyal friends who know you, adore you and will fiercely protect you. Those who judge you don’t love you, and their voices shouldn’t hold weight. Rather, it’s your own hearts that matter.

“Take all that you have seen, the people you have met, the lessons you have learned, and let that help guide you in making positive change. We have no doubt you will. “

“You have lived through the unbelievable pressure of the White House,” they finished their letter. “You have listened to harsh criticism of your parents by people who had never even met them. You stood by as your precious parents were reduced to headlines. Your parents, who put you first and who not only showed you but gave you the world. As always, they will be rooting for you as you begin your next chapter. And so will we.”

Read the full letter here.



One of Napa’s Top Cult Cabernets Gets a Stunning New Home

One of Napa Valley’s most location-driven labels, ironically, had no proper home for more than two decades. When vintner Barbara Banke and her late husband, Jess Jackson, founded Lokoya ( in 1995, they considered one of the properties that contributes to its portfolio of mountain-grown Cabernet Sauvignons as a potential winery site. “We always knew Lokoya would be in the mountains,” says Banke. “We had at one point considered building something on Mount Veeder, but its location was almost too remote.”

During this quest, winemaker Chris Carpenter produced wines from three appellations—Mount Veeder, Howell Mountain, and Diamond Mountain—in the winery at Cardinale Estate, which he also oversees. But the addition in 2005 of a fourth, Spring Mountain, led Banke and team to investigate the acreage in this district that would at last become Lokoya’s base. “We noticed the vineyards first,” she says. “Then the winery caught our eye.”

The building, constructed in the 1960s, is a mammoth assemblage of raw-stone masonry that, with its peaked roofline and turret, itself resembles a mountain. Undaunted by the edifice’s dark interiors, Banke called in the architect Howard Backen, of Backen, Gillam, & Kroeger, in 2014.

“Howard and I first looked at each other and went, ‘Oh, wow, maybe not,’ ” says John Taft, Backen’s associate, of his first visit. “But then we saw the concrete columns, capitals, and the symmetry of the building.”

Taft and Backen replaced the stained glass with clear panes and gutted the interior to reveal its scale. A contemporary glass-and-steel terrace was added to the eastern facade, drawing in the sunlight and sweeping mountain and valley views.

The finished reception area, which can be visited by appointment only, is at once expansive and intimate. “The space can host multiple groups without having anyone feel as though they’re on top of each other,” says Taft. “This is the highest level of hospitality.”

For Banke, the winery is an embodiment of the wines themselves. “It’s sleek and modern in a classic structure,” she says. “It is sophisticated but has strength as well, much like Lokoya.”



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